expand access to new MDR-TB drugs in countries that are most in need

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We can not imagine what it is like to live without access to basic healthcare because as residents of the Silicon Valley we are surrounded by high-tech medical equipment and ever improving drugs. Not being able to take a painkiller for a headache or run to CVS to buy cough syrup for a sore throat is not a problem that we have ever encountered. We are privileged, so it is easy to forget that not everyone in the world is. It is easy to forget that some people die from easily treatable diseases like the common cold. It is easy to forget when we are dealing with our own country's problems, that somewhere in the third world somebody is dying from a disease that in the United States would consist of a trip to the pharmacy. It is our obligation to remember this and do our best to increase access to life-saving drugs in the third world.

Increasing access to delamanid and bedaquiline (two newly created MDR-TB drugs) would be a step in the right direction. Research by MSF and WHO showed that delamanid was effective in treating MDR-TB and showed that nearly 90 percent had a negative culture following six months of treatment, an indication that prolonged treatment would prove successful. However, while this drug has been on the market for 4 years, only five percent of people in need of treatment have actually received the drug. The remaining 95% were given drugs that have a much lower success rate and cause debilitating side effects like deafness and psychosis. This is partly due to the fact that the drug has only been registered in 39 countries and is still unavailable in high burden TB countries. Bedaquiline, however, another new drug that has been proven effective is currently only available in Russia, the EU, South Korea, South Africa and Peru. Signing this petition would bring this issue to the attention of Janssen, a pharmaceutical company of Johnson and Johnson and encourage them to register their drug in Nigeria, Brazil, Indonesia, Sierra Leon, and Liberia (all high burden TB countries).

Another issue with the drug bedaquiline is the price. According to aidsfreeworld.org, the price for bedaquiline in high, middle, and low income countries is $30,000 ; $3,000 ; $900 respectively. That is way too high of a price to pay for countries that are already suffering financially. Lowering this price by at least 25% would already significantly help make this drug more accessible.

Today: Anastassia is counting on you

Anastassia Dardenne needs your help with “Johnson & Johnson: register new drug resistant tuberculosis drugs in third world countries (most in need of these drugs) instead of only registering in big countries like the US”. Join Anastassia and 131 supporters today.